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tv   Hardball Weekend  MSNBC  May 12, 2013 4:00am-4:31am PDT

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"vegas undercover raw." i'm chris hansen. thanks for watching. scandal or just playing p l politics? let's play "hardball." good evening. let me start tonight with benghazi. do republicans have a smoking g gun? no. do they have enough to keep the story alive? yes. and today we learned that the state department asked for and received changes made to the administration's talking points after the attack. that doesn't mean that hillary clinton or president obama orchestrated a conspiracy to
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cover up a malfeasance but does give fuel to keep the story alive, and they are. throw in lindsey graham call for mrs. clinton to testify before congress and a new anti-hillary by karl rove. daniel pletka is vice president of the american enterprise institu institute. we now know that the talking points used by susan rice were changed 12 times in a 24-hour period and the white house and state department were more involved in that process than was previously revealed. the first draft of the talking points included a specific reference to, quote, islamic extremists with ties to al qaeda participating in the attack. that was eventually scrubbed. also, there was this paragraph as was reported today. the agency has produced numerous pieceses on the threat of extremists linked to al qaeda in benghazi and eastern libya. these noted that since april this there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in benghazi by
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unidentified assailants including the june attack against the british ambassador's convoy. we cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the u.s. facilities. also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks. in an e-mail according to abc, state department spokesperson victoria nuland tookish woo that information because, quote, it could be abused by members of congress to beat up the state department for not paying attention to warnings. so why would we want to feed that either? concerned, unquote. the entire paragraph was eventually scrubbed. all the news today made for a testy white house press briefing with press secretary jay carney clearly playing defense on the talking points. >> jay, you told us that the only changes that were made were stylistic. is it a stylistic change to take out all references to previous terror threats in benghazi? >> well, i appreciate the question, again, and i think that what i was referring to was the talking points that the cia
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drafted and sent around to which one change was made, and i accept that stalistic may not preci precisely describe the change of one word to another. >> jay, that was not a change of one word. these underwent extensive changes after they were written by the cia. >> there was an interagency process, which is always the case because a lot of agencies have a stake in a matter like this. >> that was jonathan karl asking that question, the one who broke the story, this story for abc. danielle, let me begin with you. when you look at the editing of the faulking points, is this the way it looks when you're watching sausage being made, or is this evidence of some form of could haveup? >> i think it's a little bit of both, honestly. clearly in any executive branch discussion you're going to have different agencies fighting with each other. you're going to have them trying to protect their interests and their turf. that's the sausage making part. the issue here is, what was the white house looking for in taking out all references to terrorism? that's the part that really
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concerns me because it goes along with what was later said about this not being terrorism, suggesting that, in fact, it was all about a youtube video. >> but what would be the upside? what would be the upside for the bhous in trying to keep a limitation on terrorism? in other words, i'm of a mindset that says eight weeks out from an election, it might not politically speaking -- it might not be a bad thing if it is a case of terror because we have a tendency to rally around the chief executive. >> that's a little bit -- that's a little bit machiavellian even for me but i think you've asked the right question. now think about this from the republicans' perspective. we get why the president didn't want to admit this was a case of terrorism because, in fact, the entire re-election on national security was, i killed osama bin laden. al qaeda is on its heels. they didn't want to admit it was an act of terrorism. there's a bigger problem here and that is despite the fact that they knew that it was an act of terrorism, they kept pressing back. they kept trying to go back to
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this other story. i think, honestly speaking, that's one of the reasons why people are sort of perplexed. they keep trying to cover up what actually happened. it makes people think something worse happened. >> david, i want to ask you about -- let me ask you about victoria nuland. she took further issue with the talking points and wrote, quote, these don't resolve all my issues or those of my building lead lead leadership. obviously, well, we think a reference to secretary clinton. >> well, she met the leadership, the state department. a couple points, was this politic, was it scandal? it's kind of in between. jay carney did get caught not giving the full story about the process of these revisions when he spoke about this a couple months ago. david petraeus has told why the cia took out the references to the al qaeda-linked group in the early versions of the talking poin
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points. that explained it, danielle. i may not agree or accept but that was the white house revision. the major revision came from the state department not from the white house. and it had to do with their -- what happened before the attack. not whether you call this terrorism or not. i think in a lot of ways the conservative theory of the case here has been almost disproven by these revisions. >> david, let me ask you this question because you would know these facts better than i, perhaps. to an outsider, to a lay person, to hear there were 12 revisions to the talking points, that sounds ominous. in the normal course of events, how often is something like this edited, revised? >> if you look at some of the revisions, if you go through them, and i salute jonathan for putting this online, you can see that in some of these revisions, one or two words were taken out that had no real substantive meaning. it's not unusual for an interagency thing that involves multiple agencies to bounce
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around again and again and again and before it's all resolved. so that's not unusual at all. >> hang on a second, david. hang on just one second. the e-mails that were released by "the weekly standard" of t david petraeus' were taken out. he was very surprised. number two, you are totally right. lots of revisions happen. that's very normal. the issue is, what was the intent with the revisions and why did the white house feel the need to lie about it? why did they feel the need to keep lying about it? why did they feel the need to keep saying that this was about something that it wasn't about? >> why assumes malice aforethought, assumes someone knows what they're saying are true. i listened to you. permit me a final word. it may never speak to that fact. now we both have been heard, and i do thank you.
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danielle and david korn. coming up, we know republicans are eager to rough up hillary and some are happily discussing impeachment, we're going to look at whether there's any real political fall quout here. also, the horror of the cleveland kidnappings has left many wondering how the women and the little girl will ever recover. we'll talk about their chances which, it turns out, are better than you might have expected. and the latest in our series, the unkindest cut. how those sequester cuts are hurting the victims of domestic violence both in and out of the military. finally, democrats, republicans, and the beatles. which party prefers john and which favors paul? that and more of the red and blue musical divide on the sideshow. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ female announcer ] introducing new olay fresh effects'
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welcome back to "hardball." fair or not 0 benghazi fever has
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resulted in a serious political headache for the administration while claims on the far right that this controversy will cost obama his job are a bit far-flung, there's some very real and perilous side effects to this issue. the main gop target has been and will continue to be hillary clinton, but even if she's vindicated as having done nothing wrong, has the political damage already been done? let's bring in had our strategist ed rendell, was governor of pennsylvania and is now an msnbc political analyst, john is a republican strategist. governor, i want to begin with you. a personal question about her because you know her so well. is secretary clinton the type who looks at this emerging controversy and relishes the opportunity to confront it, or does the possibility, the prospect exist, as she says, you know, this is a reminder to me of the underbelly of politics. who the hell needs it? i'm staying out in 2016. >> a little bit of both. i don't think this controversy would be a factor in her decision whether to run or not.
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i think she would relish getting another chance to answer the critics here. remember, when she had that fall, the right said she faked the fall to avoid testifying in front of congress. well, she came back and testified again in front of congress and, as i recall, she happeneded most of those republican male senators their hats. i don't think she's worried about the controversy. she can take on controversy. she's been doing it all her career. i will say, if i could, michael, on this people are forgetting -- if this was such a concerted cover-up, why did the president when he went and talked at the rose garden two days after this incident use the word terrorist attack? remember, that word came out during one of the debates with governor romney. he used the word, terrorist attack. the president didn't make any bones about the fact it was a terrorist attack. >> in the immediate aftermath of boston, this same semantic issue was raised. i had callers to my radio program saying, aha, he doesn't
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want to acknowledge that boston is a case of terrorism. how do you see that issue? >> well, how i see this whole issue unfolding with hillary clinton and whether she runs, i think that we don't know how this will play out quite yet. i think there's still some rope to be tied. the other thing interesting to me is does there at some point the white house decide that they've got to throw hillary clinton under the bus and kind of protect itself? we don't know how this is all going to play out. i do know that as she left the secretary of state's office, everyone was giving her this great big sendoff. this reminds people there was some controversy at the end, and i think that's going to be one of those things that comes up during the campaign. and there are plenty of democrats who want to be president and would be happy to throw hillary clinton under the bus and take over that job. so this is not an easy road for her. >> karl rove wasted no time. his group american crossroads has a new web at-bat fd focused entirely on hillary clinton.
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>> a 22-year diplomatic veteran intimidated for daring to blow the whistle, all under hillary clinton's watch. how could had this happen? why did she blame the video? was she part of a cover-up? >> was it because of a protest or because of guys out for a walk one night who decided to kill some americans? what difference at this point does it make? >> the difference is a cover-up and four american lives that deserve the truth. >> governor rendell, there are some controversial that are readily understood -- watergate. we all get that. we don't want our homes broken into. there are other controversies that i think are too confusing whitewater fell into that c category, in my view. where does benghazi fall in that spectrum if you buy into it? >> first of all, i think karl rove lost his mind. we saw a little bit of him losing his mind election night when he wanted to call for a recount in ohio. and for him to put in an ad to attack a potential candidate who may never run three years from now, karl, get a life. take up tennis or do something. that's number one.
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number two, hillary clinton's stint at secretary of state is like a pitcher who had 20 wins and two losses during her stint as secretary of state. you know, if this is a blot on our record, her record was almost perfect in the eyes of the american people. and this won't have any long lasting effect. i guarantee you a few years from now if hill had hill is a candidate, less than 5% of the american people will remember this. look, this is all about spin. it's not about cover-up. it's about spin. if there was a cover-up, let me repeat, the president of the united states, whose administration is supposedly orchestrating this cover-up, wouldn't have admitted that it was a terrorist attack. wouldn't have used those words. >> as a republican strategist, i maintain that benghazi heretofo heretofore, and i'm referring to the 2012 election, never resonated beyond the very conservative hard core on the right. it became a buzz word associated with all evil things that they wanted to believe about this president. what is the prospect that
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benghazi moving forward as a political issue has more resonance in the middle? >> you know, michael, i was with you. i didn't think this was going to be that big of a controversy. i kind of sluffed it off. and i've been surprised by seeing really respected journalists like jonathan karl and ron go after this. they think there's something there and they're going to continue to pursue it. i understand what governor rendell is saying that 20-2. if your last game is a loss in the world series and you get shelled, that's a problem. i do think that for hillary clinton, she could get thrown under the bus by the obama white house. we'll see how this plays out. i think this is a much easier thing -- a much easier scandal for people to understand than whitewater because you had the four deaths and there's a lot of explaining as to why the embassy did not get enough security to protect themselves. >> well, i've been asking -- governor, i'll let you respond to this because i've been asking aloud to what end would there
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have been this cover-up? and peggy noonan in "the wall street journal" today put it better than others. the inconvenient truth about benghazi, the genesis of the scandal, it looks to me like this. the obama white house sees every event as a political event. it could not tolerate the idea that the armed assault on the ben g benghazi consulate was a premeditated act of islamist terrorism. that would carry a whole world of political implications and demand certain actions and the american presidential election was only eight weeks away. they wanted this problem to go away or at least to bleed the meaning from it. governor, why is that not a convincing way to analyze benghazi? >> no, i think that's right. i think that the obama white house wanted to spin this in the least damaging way possible. but i think you made it a very good point when you said, look, let's look at what happened that led to the deaths of the american people. i think the spin post incident, the american people, aren't going to give two hoots about
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it. they're going to give it the parties playing the blame game. but i do think it's a legitimate inquiry why the system broke down, why the warning signals that were sent weren't responded to. hillary clinton had nothing to do with that. she never saw the cables and i think that's pretty well established. we have to put in place -- we have to find out what went wrong and how we fix it going forward. now they've taken some steps, but i'm not sure those are enough steps. that's the real problem. the four americans who lost their lives didn't lose their lives because this was characterized one way or the other after it occurred. let's get real about that. >> governor, thank you. up next, we found something on which democrats and republicans actually agree. justin bieber. it seems most people don't like him regardless of party. and don't forget, i can now be heard daily exclusively on sirius xm channel 124. this is "hardball," the place for politics. on everything. everything.
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new jersey governor chris cillizza chris christie is tired of people making fun of his weight. his approval rating has gone up 12 points. the only time he picks up a dozen is when he goes to krispy kreme. until then he'll just think about pancakes. to talk about his initiative let's sit on twitter. he tweeted, really, jimmy fallon, another joke in the monologue? you guys need more material. and i go, you know what needs more material? your suits. >> back to "hardball." this is the sideshow. first, joe biden spoke to a group of first responders in washington, d.c., last night and thanked them for coming to his aid in several past emergencies in more ways than one.
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>> in 2004 that summer i was down here doing a sunday program and lightning struck my home and destroyed a significant portion of it. and you got my wife out. in addition to my wife, you got my second best love out of the house, may '67 corvette. so thank you all. so i owe you. when i say i owe you, i mean i owe you. >> the vice president really does have strong feelings about his corvette. in a 2011 interview with "car and driver magazine" he said, quote, i still have my 1967 g d goodwood-green corvette. the secret service won't let me drive it. i'm not allowed to drive anything. it's the one thing i hate about this job. next, try to make the connection between politics and cicadas, the creepy looking insects that re-emerge en masse every 17 years or so. this is set to be one of those years here on the east coast and mother jones found the insects have made a mark in politics
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over the years. in june of 1987, president reagan name dropped them had in a radio address against government spending, quote, like the cicadas, the big spenders are hatching out again and threatening to overrun congress. in the same address reagan asked people to support his own budget and, quote, make the cicadas in congress go back underground. sometimes they just get in the way. on memorial day of 1902 teddy roosevelt gave a speech about america's role in foreign affairs at the arlington national cemetery. a biography written years later had this to say about it. quote, invisible choirs of 17-year cicadas buzzed in counter point to roosevelt's voice. for a more recent example, this rmc ad from the 2004 presidential race. >> every 17 years cicadas emerge. morph out of their shell and change their appearance. like a cicada, senator kerry would lake to shed his senate
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career and morph into a fiscal conservative, a centrist democrat opposed to taxes, strong on defense but he leaves his record behind. >> as for how the current administration is prepping for the on coming swarm of cicadas, the administration told mother jones the obama administration has no plan it to suppress the cicada invasion. finally, what do our tastes in music say about our political views? there's a poll for that. some results from ppp. for favorite music genre, democrats like classical music while the top pick for republicans country. now to the favorite member of the beatles. democrats chose john lennon over paul mccartney 39% to 36%. it was the opposite for republicans but by a wider margin. 49% for mccartney. 15% for lennon. as for which singer people would want to see as president both parties were in favor of justin timberlake taking on the white house. bad news for one pop star,
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though, justin bieber, with 54% unfavorability in the poll, bieber came out as the only pop star viewed unfavorably by the majority of democrats, republicans, and independents. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. coming up next "your business" with j.j. ramberg. [ female announcer ] what does the anti-aging power of olay total effects plus the perfecting color of a bb cream equal? introducing the newest beauty trend. total effects cc cream c for color. c for correction. [ female announcer ] fight 7 signs of aging flawlessly. cc for yourself.
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it is a covet ed customer demographic. what you need to do to appeal to the blooming hispanic market. plus, getting your employees to think like entrepreneurs. and, a mother's day tale. a charismatic mom teaches her daughter the ins and outs of running one of new york's premier jazz clubs. get informed and inspired next on "your business."